We have all heard of writing in sprints when the inspiration strikes. Chances are you associate your creativity with inspiration a lot and that there are some days, more often than not, when you are waiting for the creative juices to flow...but they don’t.
If this sounds familiar, you might be in need of a guide to cultivate good writing habits that not only sustain your creativity but also ensure that you improve your writing skills every day.
1. A daily writing habit
Believe it or not, you cannot count on inspiration to visit you daily. Some days just have to be spent brainstorming and knocking at your brain for ideas. Other days have to be allocated solely for writing gibberish that won’t end up in your book.
However, what’s important is that you put words to paper every single day. A new routine takes time to stick. Start with writing for 15 minutes a day and build a routine henceforth. To motivate yourself, make fun prompts and stick them to your writing space.
2. Set up a space for writing without distraction
Speaking of a writing space, it is encouraged to treat writing like more than a hobby if you’re going to indulge in it everyday. Assign yourself a place where you can commit to an orderly writing practice. Fill this space with things that inspire your routine–writing prompts, sticky notes with plot ideas and an editorial calendar that records your schedule and deadlines.
Make sure to keep this space solely to yourself. Keep your phone aside, inform your family and friends to give you space, make yourself a warm cup of tea and WRITE.
3. Consume media like a writer
We grow up reading, watching and listening to stories that fascinate us to try our hand at the craft too. Inculcate the habit of actively engaging with and critiquing books, movies, podcasts and other mediums of storytelling.
Not only does it give your ideas a boost but you can also learn new techniques you haven’t tried before. You can assess your own methods and decide what works for you and what doesn’t.
You can also engage with content in different languages and learn how each language and culture evolves its storytelling.
4. Don’t shy away from research
There’s a common misconception amongst writers that researching equates to wasting time instead of working. It’s time to de-platform this myth. Planning and allotting a slot to research for your plot or other elements in your story will not only ensure that your writing is backed up with facts but also a good warm-up for your daily writing routine.
A helpful tip is to maintain an editorial calendar or planner where you schedule your writing, researching and editing process.
5. Goals and rewards
These are the two practices that, when go hand-in-hand, amplify your writing process. A daily writing routine might turn stale if you don’t have fun while doing it. Outlining your goals and motivating yourself to achieve them by setting up rewards help in maximising productivity.
Say you need to edit the draft you wrote yesterday but also want to watch that new documentary on Netflix. Tell yourself that you’ll only watch it once you write a certain word-count for the day. Train your mind to finish your daily writing task so that you can reward yourself later.
6. Be a part of a team
Seek out writers. Be a part of a writing community. You can find a lot of writing groups, conferences, reading groups, book clubs and so on on social media if going out and looking for a group is too daunting or time-consuming for you.
Interact with writers who write in your language and genre. Being a part of a community gives you the extra push to remain consistent with your writing, get critical feedback and resources to help hone your skills further.
7. Identify as a writer
If you’re serious about what you’re writing, it’s time that the world takes you seriously and respects you too. Even if you’re a novice in the craft, you should address yourself as a writer.
Make a platform to showcase your works through social media or blogging. Reach out to potential readers and expand your readership. Communicate with your followers and treat the time you invest in writing as a serious job.
Most importantly, learn to give your writing credit.
Jodi Picoult once famously said, “You can’t edit a blank page.” At the end of the day, all you have to do is put your pen to paper and do it every single day till you finish your manuscript. Being consistent will take you a long way in your writing journey.
This article was written by Isvi Mishra